Lina Bernaola Elected as Next Vice President-Elect of Entomological Society of America

Six others earn positions on ESA Governing Board

Annapolis, MD; August 24, 2022—Lina Bernaola, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Beaumont, Texas, has been elected by members of the Entomological Society of America as the organization's next Vice President-Elect.

She will begin her term as VP-Elect at the conclusion of the 2022 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia, November 13-16, in Vancouver. She will then serve as ESA Vice President beginning in November 2023, President beginning in November 2024, and Past President beginning in November 2025.

ESA members also elected six other entomologists to begin or continue positions on the ESA Governing Board:

  • Faith Oi, Ph.D., University of Florida, ESA Treasurer (re-elected)
  • Scott O'Neal, Ph.D., Corteva Agriscience, Early-Career Professional Representative (newly elected)
  • Jamal Hunter, University of Georgia, Student Representative (newly elected)
  • Erika Machtinger, Ph.D., Penn State University, MUVE Section Representative (newly elected)
  • Mark G. Wright, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, Pacific Branch Representative (newly elected)
  • Karla Addesso, Ph.D., Tennessee State University, Southeastern Branch Representative (re-elected)

ESA members also voted on several other volunteer positions within the Society and ESA Sections and Branches, as well as Honorary Members:

For more information on the entomologists elected to the ESA Governing Board, see below:

ESA Vice President-Elect

Lina Bernaola
Texas A&M University

Bio: Lina Bernaola, Ph.D., recently joined the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University as the new rice entomologist. She is nominated by the ESA Southeastern Branch (SEB) with endorsements from the Southwestern Branch. She has a B.S. in biology from San Marcos University (Lima, Peru), and she completed an M.S. in agronomy, Ph.D. in entomology, and postdoctoral research all at Louisiana State University. Her research interests include understanding the influence of soil microbes (primarily mutualistic fungi) on plant (rice and soybean) defense and interactions with insect herbivores and pathogens. Outside of work, Lina enjoys travelling to new places, taking photos, or dancing bachata and merengue.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Lina has been actively involved in ESA since 2013. She is currently the P-IE Section treasurer (2020-2023), and the Southeastern Branch representative on the Awards and Honors Committee (2020-2023). At the Section level, Lina has also served on the P-IE Governing Council as the student representative (2014-2016). At the Branch level, she chaired the Program Committee of the Annual Meeting (2020-2022), Early Career Committee (2019-2020), and the Student Affairs Committee (2014-2016) of the SEB. At the national level, Lina served two terms as the student representative to the Governing Board (2016-2020) and chaired the Student Affairs Committee in 2020. She has presented her research at international, national, and Branch Meetings. She is always working on members' needs and has assisted in organizing symposia, student debates, and workshops.

General candidate statement: From my previous leadership roles, I learned about the Society, especially regarding the structure and principles of ESA. After gaining this valuable experience, I would like to give back to the ESA community, in part, by endorsing a diverse group of future leaders in entomology and similar areas, who can start gaining experience at an early stage in their careers. By running for VP-elect as an ECP, I would be honored to continue working hard at the core of ESA. I would like to review our Branch and Section structures to better understand how to welcome members that currently have not been fully engaged. My goal has always been to promote a community that is inclusive of diversity and to entice more active members for the growth of the Society, which is uniquely positioned to engage and network with organizations worldwide to take on entomological challenges we face in the coming years.

VP-elect candidate statement: As an evolving Society, ESA faces critical issues and challenges in the coming years. ESA's mission is twofold: promote opportunities for its members and provide the resources to share their insect science globally. If elected, I intend to increase our active membership to bring a new diversity of thought to improve satisfaction and participation among all members. By encouraging and supporting students, Early Career Professionals, and underrepresented members, I plan to maintain ESA's strong commitment to professional development of our members, through mentoring, leadership roles, recognition, and volunteer opportunities that will increase ESA's membership while promoting diversity and inclusion. In parallel, I will work on challenges that our community is facing today such as communicating our science to policymakers and the general public. If elected, I intend to enhance our Science Policy program to interface more closely with decision makers at the federal level and increase our representation on Capitol Hill. Finally, I will work on innovating our science communication initiatives that can engage the general public on insect science information with a focus on targeting diverse audiences. I believe in the capacity of this Society to continue evolving despite new challenges and doing what is best not only for its members but also for the scientific community around the world.

ESA Treasurer

Faith Oi
University of Florida

Bio: Faith Oi, Ph.D., is an urban entomologist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at University of Florida. She is nominated by MUVE and endorsed by the ESA Southeastern and Southwestern Branches. She is director of Pest Management University (PMU, 2007-present), whose mission is to train the pest control industry using evidence-based instruction. She leads a team of experts from industry, academia, and regulatory agencies with core values that support science and service. Oi completed LEAD21 and LEAD IFAS. She is a recipient of the Pest Control Technology-Syngenta Crown Leadership Award (2018) and 2021 Florida Extension Association Family and Consumer Sciences Outstanding Specialist. Other awards: IPM Symposium Team Award for PMU (2018), Florida Entomological Society (FES) Team Research Achievement Award (2015), and FES Achievement Extension Award (2014).

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Oi has actively and continually served the Entomological Society of America at the Branch, Section, and national levels since 1995. Leadership capacities include incumbent treasurer and member of the Executive Committee of the Governing Board (2019-2022), two terms on the Finance Committee (2008-2014), MUVE Section president (2015), Diversity & Inclusion Committee (2015-2018; chair, 2017; Section representative, 2017-2018), Rules and Ethics Committee (2019-2022), PACT (2021-2022), SEB Nominations chair (2016), Program chair (2008), and Student Awards Committee (1995-1998, chair, 1997-1998). She has served on the National Pest Management Association technical committee for over 25 years and served the National Conference on Urban Entomology as conference chair (2012, 2014), student awards chair (2017), and planning committee (2009-2017).

Candidate statement: I assumed the role as treasurer at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. If elected to a second term, I believe that I can provide the continuity needed to work with members, the Governing Board, and ESA headquarters as we emerge into a different stage of the pandemic and respond to financial challenges due to geopolitical events and market volatility. My goal is to uphold the treasurer's fiduciary responsibility to ensure financial solvency, to maintain program stability, and grow programming that will support changing member needs.

Early-Career Professional Representative to ESA Governing Board

Scott O'Neal
Corteva Agriscience

Bio: Dr. Scott O'Neal earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Virginia Tech, following a B.S. from Purdue University and a M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University. Scott had the privilege of being awarded both predoctoral and postdoctoral USDA NIFA fellowships to support his research in the area of insect physiology and toxicology, which he began as a doctoral student and then continued as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since January 2020, he has been employed as a research entomologist in the Insect and Nematode Management group of Corteva Agriscience, in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a result of his professional achievements, Scott has been awarded the ESA North Central Branch Excellence in Early Career Award, the UNL Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award, and the American Chemical Society's Agrochemical Division New Investigator Award.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Scott O'Neal has been an active member and leader within the Society. He served as chair of the Early Career Professionals (ECP) Committee, and during his tenure he introduced the new annual ECP Recognition Symposium, highlighting peer-selected ECP speakers at the Annual Meeting. Scott also served as the ECP representative on the Physiology, Toxicology, and Biochemistry (PBT) Section Governing Council, where he initiated and organized the first annual PBT "speed networking" event. Scott has been a student talk winner, a program symposium organizer, an invited speaker, a volunteer judge, and an organizer of numerous symposia and workshops at both Branch and Annual Meetings. Scott's most significant contribution, however, was introducing and promoting the successful petition to add a new seat on the Society's Governing Board for an Early Career Representative.

Candidate statement: I am running for the position of ESA Early Career Representative to the Governing Board with the following overall goals in mind: 1) fostering opportunities to promote engagement of early career professional (ECP) members with the governance of ESA, 2) identifying and implementing strategies that will improve both recruitment and retention of ECP members, and 3) driving the ongoing push for greater inclusivity and bringing more diverse voices to the forefront of the Society as we look to develop a new generation of leaders that will sustain our evolving organization. As the first person to hold this position, I would leverage my considerable experience as an advocate for ECPs to facilitate a more meaningful interaction between the ECP Committee and the Governing Board and to develop a framework for that relationship that can be employed in the years to come.

Student Representative to the ESA Governing Board

Jamal Hunter
University of Georgia

Bio: Jamal Hunter began his collegiate career at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. During his time at there he was VP of the Student Diversity Alliance, executive secretary of the Student Government Association, president of the Resident Hall Association, student worker in a cotton entomology lab, resident assistant, technician at the Georgia Deptartment of Agriculture, and a member of the Association of Southeastern Biologists. After receiving a B.S. in biology and A.S. in mathematics from ABAC, Jamal continued his collegiate career at the University of Georgia, during which time he was secretary of the entomology graduate student club and an active member of ESA. His interests are broad, ranging from the application of technology to solve entomological problems to insect diversity and how interspecies interaction can affect large scale agriculture.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Mostly Jamal Hunter's participation in ESA has been limited to student posters or presentations, with the exception of volunteering wherever needed during the 2018 Annual Meeting. During his undergrad, he presented posters at the Association of Southeastern Biologists conference. Jamal has also presented posters and presentations at the Georgia Entomologist Society. When it comes to volunteering, he spends quite a bit of time giving back to his local community; he often given guest lectures to both elementary and middle schools, as well as mentoring programs. Jamal volunteers to attend or participate in grower meetings with the goals of fortifying his conversation skills with laypersons while also developing the skill of rooting out perceived problems and solutions in agricultural systems.

Candidate statement: I am always interested in opportunities to network as well as learn the underlying mechanisms of how large organizations work. These are both things that will translate well when I began putting into motion my ultimate goal of starting an agricultural technology firm. Overall, I am interested in representing students to the ESA Governing Board because I am a passionate advocate for students' rights and want to make sure students get the most out of their membership with ESA.

MUVE Section Representative to the ESA Governing Board

Erika Machtinger
Penn State University

Bio: Dr. Erika Machtinger holds a B.Sc. from the University of Delaware in wildlife conservation, and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Florida. Currently, she is an assistant professor at Penn State with a 70% research, 30% extension appointment. Her multidisciplinary, integrated research focuses on pests of veterinary concern. Dr. Machtinger has 49 peer-reviewed publications and 3 book chapters and co-authored the book Pests and Parasites of Horses. She has secured over $2.5 million in research funding. Dr. Machtinger is currently the Vector-Borne Disease (VBD) Team leader at Penn State Extension. Her development of this novel team to address VBD in the U.S. led to her receiving the ECP Extension Award in 2019. As the team lead, she is responsible for the development and coordination of team activities to address human and animal VBD education priorities.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Machtinger has been an active member of ESA since she was a graduate student. She was a Southeastern Branch representative to the Early Career Professionals Committee until November 2017. In 2018, she joined the president's task force on publications. She was appointed a MUVE Section representative to the Early Career Professionals Committee from 2018 to 2021. Currently, she is an associate editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology and a subject editor for the Journal of Insect Science and the Journal of Medical Entomology. She has led or co-led two collections for the Journal of Insect Science and the Journal of Integrated Pest Management. Because of her unique skill set in wildlife, entomology, and pest management, she also serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Wildlife Management, Pest Management Science, and Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

Candidate statement: "Finding connections" has been my phrase these past years as we were all physically distanced. This reflection time allowed me to think on how we could grow and create stronger connections within MUVE. I would be honored to represent MUVE on the Governing Board and am excited to advocate for more opportunities within MUVE, including spearheading new initiatives to support and grow our membership. As the Section representative, I will continue to develop relationships with fellow board members and learn from the efforts of the other Sections to strengthen our own. I will also commit to active participation in board activities, effective communication, and supporting program initiatives. I am dedicated to the success of MUVE and ESA and will act with a goal-oriented purpose focusing on the concerns of the Section and working to expand MUVE representation throughout our Society.

Pacific Branch Representative to the ESA Governing Board

Mark G. Wright
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Bio: Dr. Wright holds a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), and spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University. At the University of Hawaii, his research and extension efforts address IPM of pests of tropical crops, concentrating on biological control. He has also worked on biocontrol of invasive species attacking native plant species. He has published on biological control, development of pest sampling methods, diversified cropping systems, pollination of endangered species and crops, and the potential of honeybee alarm pheromones as deterrents of African elephants. He currently serves as associate editor for Biocontrol Science & Technology and on the editorial board of Biological Control.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Past ESA activity:

  • ESA member since 2005.
  • ESA Pacific Branch: president-elect (2019-2020), president (2020-2021), past president (2021-2022).
  • ESA Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section: vice-president, (2016-2017), president (2017-2018), past-president (2018-2019).
  • Environmental Entomology Editorial Board: ESA Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section representative, 2013-2014 (chair, 2014)
  • Member of Western Governors' Association Invasive Species Data initiative group (2017-2018).

Candidate statement: During my 15 years of ESA membership, I have been involved in leadership roles at a number of levels, including serving on the Environmental Entomology editorial board, as president of the P-IE Section and president of the Pacific Branch, and I have also served on awards committees and other ad hoc roles over the years. I am interested in furthering the contributions and impact of the Pacific Branch at the ESA Governing Board level. The Pacfic Branch is a diverse region with diverse membership and covers a wide range of ecosystems and cropping systems, a substantial component of the ESA. I believe that my previous experience in ESA has prepared me well to serve in the role of Pacific Branch representative to the Governing Board.

Southeastern Branch Representative to the ESA Governing Board

Karla Addesso
Tennessee State University

Bio: Dr. Karla Addesso received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in December 2007. She completed postdoctoral work in the Chemistry Unit of the USDA-ARS-CMAVE. She was awarded the Henry and Sylvia Richardson Postdoctoral Award by ESA in 2009. Dr. Addesso joined Tennessee State University in 2012. She is currently an assistant professor of ornamental entomology. Her research focuses on management of woody ornamental pests including wood borers, mites, scales, imported fire ants, and Japanese beetle. In 2014, Dr. Addesso was awarded the College of Agriculture Young Researcher Award for her program initiation. Since joining TSU, she has advised 11 graduate students and published several dozen peer-reviewed, extension, and trade papers. She currently leads a multi-state SCRI team working on flatheaded borer management in specialty crops.

Past ESA activity or other volunteer service: Dr. Addesso has served ESA as a judge for student competitions, organized and participated in meeting symposia, and was a judge for the Monsanto Student Travel Grant. She as served one term as the SEB representative to the Governing Board. As part of her role as SEB Governing Board representative, she has also served on the Finance and Entomology Games Committees as well as a member of the SEB Executive Committee. She is active in the Tennessee Entomological Society, previously serving as member-at-large, editor, secretary and president. Dr. Addesso is an associate editor for Environmental Entomology and serves as a reviewer for other ESA and topical journals.

Candidate statement: Greetings fellow Southeastern Branch members and thank you for considering me for the role of SEB Representative to the Governing Board. This is a role I have filled since 2019. I ask that you allow me to retain this position for a second term. During my tenure on the Board, I have gained experience in sustaining a scientific society in the face of uncertainty. I have been called on to make difficult decisions regarding financial, material, and cultural changes to ESA. Making decisions for the greater good of our organization is not always easy, in particular when those decisions run counter to my personal preferences. As your representative, I pledge to always consider the needs and best interests of our Society and membership. My goal for the coming term is to ensure that ESA has a firm financial and cultural foundation from which to grow our reach and influence.

CONTACT: Joe Rominiecki,, 301-731-4535 x3009

ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit